Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

One Year In: Covid-19 Has Been Devastating for Indian Country


Riderless white horse accompanied the Liberation Day march on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on Feb. 27 to honor the memory of former Oglala Sioux Tribe Vice President Tom Poor Bear who died from Covid-19.

As Covid-19 began to spread across the United States, the first documented case in Indian Country was on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Ore. on March 2, 2020. The tribes announced that day a staff member at the Wildhorse Resort & Casino tested positive for the coronavirus. The next day, the tribes announced their casino would be temporarily closed.

Since then, the deadly virus has spread throughout Indian Country with a deadly force.

Tribal gaming casinos voluntarily closed their doors "out of an abundance of caution" to protect their staff, patrons and tribal communities. One Michigan tribal leader told me its casino management worked all weekend to come up with a plan to close the casino smoothly. In operation since 1998, the casino had never closed before Covid-19. Some tribal casinos had to install locks on their doors because there had never been a need to lock them before Covid-19.


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